ANNAPOLIS — Consider it role reversal, as far as politics in Annapolis go.
Democrats in the Frederick County delegation feel they did not get adequate time in delegation meetings this year to discuss and debate issues.
Delegate Karen Lewis Young, D-District 3A, has been outspoken on Facebook this week that she didn’t think the delegation’s deliberation last Friday was fair, particularly on a bill to give limited voting rights to the county’s Board of Education student member.
She said it was clear that the outcome of the delegation’s vote on the bill was predetermined, and as a result, the debate was Republican-dominated, orchestrated and truncated.
The delegation was supposed to resolve some complaints this year by adopting Robert’s Rules of Order, the gold standard for formal procedures. Robert’s Rules say, generally, that debate on a motion should continue until everyone has a chance to speak.
Lewis Young said her comments have been cut off prematurely by interjections from other delegation members.
Delegate Carol Krimm, D-District 3A, and Sen. Ron Young, D-District 3, have also expressed concern about meeting protocols.
The delegation chairwoman, Delegate Kathy Afzali, R-District 4, disputed the claims.
“I would disagree with that. I think everyone in the delegation has an ample opportunity to share their opinions and their views. Everyone is called on equally,” Afzali said. “... If you’re in the minority party, which all of us Republicans are here, we accept when we can win and we accept when we don’t. Unfortunately, because they’re only used to winning in Annapolis, they don’t recognize that sometimes they don’t win on an issue.”
She said actions by the delegation’s Democrats this session have caused tension — in particular, introducing two bills on their own after they were voted down 5-3 in party-line delegation votes.
“Instead of accepting the popular vote — which Democrats talk so much about — they’re choosing to usurp the power of the local delegation and it’s frankly going to make us look bad to the committees where they’re going to bring these bills,” Afzali said.
Lewis Young said calling Democrats out for introducing bills outside of the delegation was a double standard. She said the five Republican members have also gone against past practices by voting against the majority’s wishes of the County Council and Board of Education. She also noted that the delegate usually has bipartisan and bicameral leadership, but this year, Republican delegates are chair and vice chair.
“Don’t tell me that I’m violating historical protocol when you’ve just done it,” she said.
While a majority of the delegation hoped adopting Robert’s Rules would help meetings run more smoothly, the procedural change was rocky this session.
Afzali and the vice chairman, Delegate William Folden, R-District 3B, said that’s because Democrats wanted to overextend debate and rehash issues. Lewis Young said it’s because outcomes were predetermined and dissent wasn’t tolerated.
“Robert’s Rules would help in making the meeting more orderly and fair. It would make the meeting a little less chaotic. But the ultimate policies and decisions are not going to be affected and that is fundamentally broken,” Lewis Young said. “It’s a dysfunctional group.”
Did you want to be a part of the Frederick County Republican Central Committee but miss your chance to be elected?
The committee is interviewing candidates to fill three auxiliary members who can step in if vacancies arise, said County Councilman Billy Shreve, a committee member.
“It’s like a farm team,” he said.
Those interested can fill out a form at frederickgop.org/participate to receive the full application before Feb. 17.
Farrar’s staying local
Just after the ballot boxes closed in November, I wrote about Frederick County business owner Danny Farrar’s early start on the 2018 campaign.
At the time, Farrar was planning to run for the House of Delegates. At a sold-out fundraiser at The Machine Gun Nest this week, Farrar told supporters he’s now running for an at-large seat on the County Council.
In a Facebook message to supporters, Farrar, a Republican, wrote that he made the decision after contemplating four three-month legislative sessions away from his wife and young daughter. He decided to pursue the start of his political career closer to home.
Farrar wrote that his family is “thrilled” with his decision.
Human trafficking task force absences
It wasn’t who was there, but who was missing that drew attention Monday night in the final minutes of the Frederick County Human Task Force meeting.
Frederick News-Post reporter Nancy Lavin attended and told me that task force member Miles Ward said he was disappointed that five of 15 members did not attend.
“This is not an empty-suit task force,” Ward said.
Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater (D), who created the panel, responded that several appointed members indicated they could not attend. Among them was Delegate Karen Lewis Young, D-District 3A, who could not attend because the General Assembly convenes Monday nights.
Task force membership previously stirred up disagreement among state lawmakers. Delegate Kathy Afzali, R-District 4, volunteered for the panel, but Fitzwater named Lewis Young.
Sen. Michael Hough’s name was unintentionally included on an initial list of panel members, but when Hough, R-District 4, showed up to the January meeting, he discovered he was not on the task force.
Why can’t we be friends?
Gov. Larry Hogan’s office faced flak this week after it was revealed that 450 people have been blocked from his Facebook page.
The Baltimore Sun first reported last weekend that posts pressing the governor to take a position on President Donald Trump’s travel ban had been deleted.
Of those people blocked over the past two years, about half were for abusive language and half were the result of “spam” attacks, including posts related to the travel ban, the Sun reported.
On Tuesday, the Maryland Democratic Party filed a Public Information Act request seeking records “related to Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform for the Office of the Governor” since Jan. 1.
This made me wonder: Have you ever been blocked by a politico’s social media? Let me know who, when and why in an email: email@example.com.